At present English Premier League teams are engaging in intensive pre-season programmes, with four of the biggest clubs in the division having just played high profile friendly matches, three of which took place in the U.S.A and the other Gothenburg.
Chelsea, Leicester City, Liverpool and Manchester United were all in friendly action against quality opposition, as they edged closer to the start of the 2016-2017 Premier League season.
Leicester suffer heavy loss
That is due to open on 13 August, when Leicester will begin the defence of their Premier League title with an away game against Hull.
Ahead of that the Foxes are currently competing in the International Champions Cup along with Barcelona, Celtic and Paris Saint Germain.
After beating Celtic 6-5 on penalties in their first International Champions Cup game, Leicester were comprehensively defeated 4-0 by PSG in Los Angeles.
The Ligue 1 champions, under new manager Unai Emery, coasted to victory courtesy of goals from Edison Cavani, Jonathan Ikone, Lucas Moura and Odsonne Eduoard. Subsequently Leicester will look to recover from that setback by producing an improved performance in their final International Champions Cup game against Barcelona.
Mourinho masterminds United comeback
A former Barca and PSG player, Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his Manchester United debut and scored a superb acrobatic overhead kick against Galatasary, as Jose Mourinho’s side recovered from trailing their Turkish opponents 2-1 to win 5-2 in Gothenburg.
Instrumental in United’s second half comeback was their captain Wayne Rooney, who scored twice, whilst Marouane Felliani and Juan Mata also found the net, as Mourinho astutely changed his team at half to great effect.
Hazard impresses despite Chelsea defeat
The Portuguese manager’s former club Chelsea did not fare as well in their latest friendly, as they lost 3-2 to Real Madrid before a crowd of 105,826 in Michigan. After trailing 3-0 at half time, Antonio Conte’s team produced a vastly improved second half display, with Eden Hazard scoring twice on his maiden pre-season appearance.
The Belgian internationalist was only introduced to the game after 65 minutes, as he played for the first time since captaining his country in their 3-1 Euro 2016 quarter final defeat to Wales. As such Hazard’s reintegration into the Chelsea team is likely to continue in the team’s next friendly against AC Milan, who were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool.
Lively Liverpool secure commanding win
Jurgen Klopp’s side delivered a calm and composed display, characterised by insistently accurate passing to comfortably overcome their Italian opponents. In order to do so, Liverpool played with great patience and perseverance, with Divock Origi and Roberto Firmino scoring second half goals following well worked attacking moves.
Subsequently Klopp will now prepare his team for a pre-season friendly against Barcelona at Wembley, before the club’s first Premier League game of the season against Arsenal on 14 August.
Quartet’s contrasting friendly fortunes
Ultimately in contrast to Claudio Ranieri’s concern over the manner in which his Leicester City side were overawed by PSG, both Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp will have been satisfied with the wins recorded by their respective teams, whilst it is possible for Antonio Conte to be encouraged by Chelsea’s second half performance.